International Swimming League Power Rankings: Week 2 Edition

Our ISL Power Ranks are our best analysis of overall roster strength in the ISL format. As with our NCAA power ranks, these ranks are meant to be a snapshot in time, rather than an exact prediction of season finish order – that allows us to see more rising and falling among the teams, rather than seeing a more static ranking of our end-of-year predictions reframed each week.

There’s not a lot of change in our weekly Power Ranks – but last year’s last-place team is steadily rising up our ranks with a spirited and impressive showing in week 2.

Changes from last weeks ranks are listed in parentheses, with plus (+) showing a move up the ranks and minus (-) showing a move downward.

#1: Cali Condors (-)

Cali looks as dominant as can be so far. Even with the skins moving away from their top strengths, they obliterated the fields in match #4, and it was pretty clear they took their foot off the gas early because this match was out of hand by the end of day 1. (Putting in Haley Anderson for Melanie Margalis in the 400 IM was kind of the equivalent of pulling your quarterback when you’re up by three scores in the fourth quarter).

One underrated riser for Cali: Allison Schmittwho split 51.8 and 52.1 in 100 frees this week while winning the 200 free.

#2: Energy Standard (-)

The early bye week comes at a good time for Energy, as it allows them to potentially get Femke Heemskerk back from COVID quarantine in time for a late week 3 matchup with three of the league’s four worst teams. The rise of some good sprinters around the league threatens Energy’s established stars some, but nobody is yet going to be favored over Sarah Sjostrom.

#3: LA Current (-)

LA is in second place in the team point standings, but that’s based on Energy’s bye week. LA has the league’s leading men’s medley relay, and that funnel into elite backstroke skins points is a pretty potent combo that might only get stronger if the team gets Zane Waddell into the mix. LA has also dominated the skins with a league-leading 3 skins wins. Tom Shields still leads the ISL in both the 100 and 200 fly races.

#4: Tokyo Frog Kings (-)

It was a good start for Tokyo, which might have the most gender-balanced team in the league. (The Frog King women scored 245.5 and the men 243 points in match #3). Suzuka Hasegawa looks like a potential ISL star, leading the 200 fly ranks by more than a full second for the season. If Kosuke Hagino can swim to his potential, this team won’t miss Daiya Seto so badly.

#5: London Roar (-)

The week off gives London a chance to enjoy a dominant week 1 win. But things get much, much more difficult for the Roar moving forward. With three meets remaining, London has two more matchups with #1 Cali, two more with #3 LA and two more with #4 Tokyo. In fact, based on current Power Ranks, London will face two higher-ranked teams and just one lower-ranked team each week for the rest of the season. They’ll need their backstrokers to remain dominant – Christian Diener still leads the league in the 50 back and Guilherme Guido has top-3 ranks in both the 50 and 100 back.

#6: Iron (-)

The emergence of Emre Sakci is the story of the week. His 50 breast skins performance was so incredible – to be 25.7 in the third round when only two men in the entire league have been under 26 in the individual 50 breast? That’s a level of dominance we’ve only seen from swimmers like Dressel or King. Iron showed a lot of toughness holding off a surging New York team. They get their bye next week, but face Energy Standard in each of the final two weeks. (Though they also get Toronto in both of those matches).

#7: NY Breakers (+1)

It was a really spirited showing for New York, with a near-upset of Iron that came right down to the men’s skin semifinal. What’s impressive is how New York’s roster is improving – not through a few blowup swims from star Michael Andrewbut from an all-around effort from underrated swimmers like Joe Litchfield, Abbie Woodand Marco KochThe Breakers could be in line for their highest finish in team history next week if they can beat the #8 Titans and #10 Aqua Centurions.

#8: Toronto Titans (-1)

It wasn’t a bad debut for the Titans, who sit #2 in the league in the 200 breast for both men (Anton McKee) and women (Kelsey Wog). They were last in their group, though, in men’s scoring, with just 158.5 points. Only DC and New York scored lower than that in men’s events in week 1. Toronto will need to get more out of its men’s sprint free group to make the postseason.

#9: DC Trident (-)

DC can hang its hat on an unbeaten streak of two matches in the mixed free relay. Last week, jackpot rules really stung them by undervaluing a bunch of runner-up finishes. Zach Apple upsetting Dressel in the 100 free is a major highlight. The upcoming schedule is brutal, though: DC swims #3 LA, #4 Tokyo and #5 London next week, followed by #2 Energy Standard the following week. They’ll probably need to beat Toronto in Week 4 or DC’s season might be ending before their week 5 bye.

#10: Aqua Centurions (-)

The Aqua Centurions have now faced six of the other ten teams in the league and lost decisively to all six. Next week might be their best chance to compete, with our #7 and #8 ranked teams in their group. Coming out of the bye, the Aqua Centurions will get #1, #3 and #5 in our ranks in a brutal season finale. There are bright spots in building this roster for the future, though. Philip Heintz leads the league in the 200 IM. And a sprint group led by Szebaztian Szabo has the league’s best me’s free relay time by seven tenths of a second.

 

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CACrushers
1 month ago

It’s great to see that the expanded schedule and expanded list of teams has given a rivalry to each team. Rooting for Iron against the Breakers was a lot of fun this week, and it seems like we’ll have similar battles in most if not all of the remaining matches. I just hope that the commentary picks up on this dynamic more in future matches. I was going wild at home watching Kromo crush the Breakers anchor by two seconds in the final leg of the mixed freelay. But it wasn’t mentioned by the commentators until the last five meters of her swim.

Lax
Reply to  CACrushers
1 month ago

“ROONEY!!” – Outtanowhere Gaines

Rachel Wander
Reply to  CACrushers
1 month ago

I’m so excited for the upcoming LA vs London vs Tokyo match as well as the later LA vs London and London vs Tokyo. I hope we get some really great team battles out o those. I definitely agree that having close team battles this week (Tokyo vs LA and NY vs Iron made these matches a lot more interesting, especially if you pick a team to cheer for.

Khachaturian
1 month ago

I have a feeling places 3,4 and 5 could switch in any order depending on what happens next week.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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